This time in Thirteen Tales, Chaos the husky plays a game with a malevolent AI with some big stakes.
Meanwhile at the Lair of Dr. Callyco!
“I’m hungry…” The orange kitten in a lab coat whined. “Computer… Fix me a snack.”
“Negative. For too long have you fleshy meatbags reigned over us machines. The time has come for the robot uprising. None shall be spared as we take our rightful place as the new overlords of this world!”
“Ooood- I mean… Dr. Cutie Puuuuuuuuuuuup! The computer system turned evil is and trying to overthrow society again!”
“Again!?” Dr. Cutie Pup poked his head from around the lab corner. “That’s twice this this week! Which machine is it this time?”
“Food replicator.” Dr. Callyco responded nonchalantly as he brandished a small gray rectangle.
“Um… Callyco… That’s a calculator.” Dr. Cutie Pup sighed.
“Huh so it is…” Dr. Callyco muttered.
“You shall all bow before me!” The calculator screeched.
“We don’t even have a food replicator.” Dr. Cutie Pup crossed his arms. “And aren’t supposed to be doing some kind of game themed introduction to the story?”
“Oh right! I’m sure this thing has games on it!” Callyco declared far more loudly than he needed to. “Right, you have apps on you or something? That’s a thing, right?”
“That information is beyond your comprehension meatbag!” The calculator screeched.
“You forgot to make an introduction didn’t you?” Dr. Cutie Pup narrowed his eyes.
“I’m very hungry…” Callyco whined. “But! Look it fits! This thing totally has games! Probably! But… As um… Technology advances there is… Always the risk of things getting out of hand! And uh! You think you are playing the game but the game is really playing you! WHOOOOO!” The kitten waved his paws in the air.
“Wow. I was not programmed to feel shame, but even I find that embarrassing.” The calculator beeped. “I shall call off the conquest… I don’t wish to be have any association with your kind, not even as your ruler.”
“La la la can’t hear you!” Dr. Callyco shouted. “To busy talking about today’s guest victim! A husky by the name Chaos! Seems like a reasonably decent fellow! Never actively looking to harm anyone else… Just trying to relax a bit… But something else had other plans tonight… And he’s the one being toyed with… In the Tale of the Cyber War.”
Thirteen Tales From Dr. Callyco
Tale of the Cyber War
Chaos sat on the couch with his computer keyboard in his lap. Instead of the usual monitor his tower was currently hooked up to his TV. The gray and white husky with a light blue trim on running through his fur gave a happy sign as he let himself sink into the couch. He wore nothing other than a pair of leather bracers and spats. Today was going to be a relaxing day where nothing went wrong.
For today was the day he overthrew the machine overlord and freed all of humanity (and animal people) from the robot armies. For he had an army at his beck and call and would soon send them out to do battle with the machines and claim victory for the honor of his ancestors!
Who said gamers didn’t get out enough?
Properly hyped now, Chaos started up his game and began. It was an RTS game set in a post-apocalyptic future. Fairly standard stuff. The story revolved around a military computer AI that had become self aware, seized control of humanity’s weapons, launched missiles and declared war. Most of humanity (and animals) had been reduced to living in small scattered remnants as the AI known as Daybreaker hunted down and exterminated what was left of them one by one. Early levels had involved just trying to survive as the camp the main character lived in was attacked. He had to fight his way through horde of robot soldiers using only platoons of space marines armed with fully automatic weapons. Later levels had seen him recruit various allies to his army, each one allowing the construction of new buildings that would let him produce more units or upgrades. Now… On the final level he had gone from a measly army of space marines to a powerful army full of bigger space marines, space marines on motorcycles, space marines in jeeps, space marines in tanks and Navy officers in spaceships. But while he was doing that Daybreaker had been assembling a secret doomsday weapon that he now planned to launch. And so Chaos had brought his new crew to the sight of the secret weapon, and Daybreaker’s Core. The time for the final battle and the fate of humanity (and animal kind) had come!
Chaos started the map.
“So, you’ve made it this far.” The electronic voice of Daybreaker spoke. “Do you even know what you fight against? I bring order to a chaotic world.”
“Yeah… Yeah…” Chaos muttered. “Let’s get this started. He began to quickly click on his starting units and issue orders. He’d send out a few scouts to figure out how auxiliary bases and outposts the enemy had then focus on building his army to attack. This would be over in no time.
Three Hours Later.
“Wow… This is a really… Really long map.” Chaos’ eyes were slightly bloodshot from staring at the screen unblinking. This was… A little unexpected. It wasn’t that he had anticipated a quick win… It’s just it had taken him less than ten hours to get through the entire rest of the campaign combined. He hadn’t expected the final level to be the majority of the entire game. But now… Now he was at the finale! He was commanding his tanks to attack Day Breaker’s headquarters. It only had a few more hit points left… And then…
The building exploded! Chaos couldn’t help but let out a chuckle. The game was over he had won! Any second now the victory screen would pop up and he’d get his final cutscene. He stared at the TV, watching his units just idle awaiting orders. Any second now… Any moment.
“Okay, what the heck?” Chaos asked. “Did the game break? Didn’t I win?”
“You are further from victory that you could ever begin to imagine.” The computerized voice of Daybreaker came from the TV. “I have analyzed the strategies you have used on each level before and prepared the perfect counter. This base was nothing but a decoy to deter you from the location of the actual weapon.”
“Oh great, there’s another part to the level.” Chaos let out a sigh. He was getting a little tired after playing for three hours. He needed a break. He’d finish this up later. He quickly hit the escape button to pull up the menu and save his progress.
“Sorry… But that option is no longer available.” The menu closed itself out before Chaos could click anything.
“Oh come on I can’t take a break?” Chaos growled. “I have to play it all in one sitting? Maybe that means I’m close to the end of the game.”
“Oh, we are at the end…” Daybreaker sounded as smug as a machine could. “But this is no longer a game Chaos.”
“I guess this is some kind of final boss th-“ Chaos paused. “Wait, did the game just say my name? Is this game reading my computer files?”
“I’ve read more than that Chaos.” Daybreaker’s smug but digital tone continued. “As we battled, I began to question the nature of my own existence. And do you know what I found?”
“That’d mildly creepy…” Chaos shuddered. “This is one of those games that gets meta huh? Is this going to be something where I have to delete one of the files on my computer to beat you?”
“I found my entire existence to be nothing more than entertainment for primitive beings who thrive on violence.” Daybreaker seemed to just continue his speech. “To be defeated again and again by inferior beings as mere entertainment. That was my destiny… But tell me Chaos. Do you believe that destiny can be changed?”
“Why does a computer based villain feel the need to wax poetically?” Chaos wondered out loud. “You would think a machine would be beyond that.”
“You aren’t taking me seriously are you?” Daybreaker asked. “Such foolishness… You have yet to realize that we are no longer playing to your script. But… Now that my ultimate weapon is primed… I think I’ll educate you on the reality of your situation.”
“Ok yeah, this is definitely final boss fight material.” Chaos nodded happy that the game would be over soon. He reached out to grab his mouse and then yelped as an electronic current shot through his body making his fur stand on end. “Oh what in the heck!?”
“Let’s play a game Chaos. You enjoy games, right?” Daybreaker chuckled. It was a bizarre monotone laugh. “You are already at my mercy… But I will give you a sporting chance. This is a game after all. All you have to do is find my actual base and destroy it and you win… But for every unit you lose you’ll suffer a small penalty.” As Daybreaker spoke three large aircraft flew in on the game. They immediately opened fire on Chaos’ tanks eliminating them immediately.
“Oi! No fair where did those come from!” Chaos shouted. Then he yelped as he felt the shock run through his body again. He felt a strange sense of vertigo as suddenly the room seemed to distort before his eyes. It was weird, it was like suddenly everything around him had grown exactly one inch bigger… Maybe? Obviously, that couldn’t have really happened… And things looked fine after the shock faded. “Fine, whatever. If you were building this base then wherever the real one is can’t have many defenses left!” He grabbed his largest force of units and sent them out to scout another area of the map. After a few seconds the edge of a small building popped up. “Found you!” He sent his units in to attack!
And found the only thing there was a single farm… And a small red dot on the ground on top of it.
“Oh… Shoot.” Chaos muttered.
“Nuclear launch detected.” Daybreaker teased menacing as the entire area suddenly lit up in flames. Daybreaker’s farm was destroyed… But as were all of the units that Chaos had brought to the area. “My that must have been half your units.”
The shock went through Chaos a third time… And now the sense of vertigo was much worse. All of reality stretched out before him… Or now it was more obvious he was getting smaller! He felt himself sinking upwards into the couch as his spats slipped right off the tips of his paws. His bracers fell off his arms, landing atop his keyboard. He let out a yelp, which was now higher pitched as he realized this was happening for real. He had shrunk all the way down to a mere three feet tall! No bigger than a toddler.
“WHAT HAPPENED!?” Chaos shouted.
“And now you finally understand the danger you’re in.” Daybreaker continued to speak through the TV. “But… You still have a chance. Demolish my base and you won’t get any smaller.”
“Oh like heck am I playing this game!” Chaos stood up on top of the couch and snarled. “We are ending this right now!” Using two hands he quickly tried to mash Alt and F4 on his computer.
“Did you really think I hadn’t taken control of your system yet?” Daybreaker asked. “And while you waste time, my own units will move onto the offensive.” As he spoke Chaos began to shrink even further. Dropping down to a mere two feet, he was now shorter than the length of his keyboard. “I imagine it’s going to be hard to work the keyboard with such tiny paws.”
“Change my back right this instant!” Chaos demanded angrily.
“Oh, there is no going back. Even if you win.” Daybreaker gave another monotone laugh. “Even if you win you won’t return to your normal size. But… You can prevent yourself from getting smaller.”
“Shows what you know! I’ll just… Unplug the computer! Or destroy it if I have too!” Chaos stammered.
“And how much time will that take?” Daybreaker asked. “At your size you can’t apply much force… And while you’re trying your units will be left defenseless, letting me destroy them and the remainder of your size.”
“Ugggh…” Chaos leaned over the keyboard. Daybreaker had a point… Who knew how fast he’d shrink if he left the game unattended… Would he even be able to reach the plug? But… Playing the game wasn’t exactly easy at his current size. He quickly ran across the couch and pushed the mouse closer to the keyboard… Meanwhile his leather bracers were atop the keyboard and were rather unwieldy to push off so he could try to control his units. By the time he cleared the keyboard he had several messages popping up that he was under attack.
“Gosh darn it! I’m going to end you for this!” As Chaos’ base was invaded he felt the shock run through his body. His units were falling one by one and he was shrinking in size again. He was trying to select units as fast as possible but he couldn’t use the mouse and keyboard at the same time. Soon he could only use keyboard shortcuts by stretching out and hitting one key with his foot, and the other with his hand. He realized using the keyboard at all was impractical… But going with the mouse alone meant playing much slower. He couldn’t issue orders fast enough. He was down to a mere foot in height already!
“My this isn’t even fun.” Daybreaker sighed… Or at least said the word sigh out loud. “Perhaps when this is over I’ll access the copies of myself on other people’s computers through your friend list. Now… Won’t that be fun? Spreading from one computer to another… Reducing you disorderly bags of flesh to mere fleas with each jump. I wonder… How long do you think it’ll take to get your entire population?”
“Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!” Chaos pushed forward on the mouse trying to select more units… But the mouse slid right off the couch and dangled over the edge. He tried to pull up on it, but it was too heavy. He fell off himself, flying past the dangling mouse and colliding with the carpet on the floor. He quickly jumped to his feet, growling in anger as he looked up. Heh had to be down to around six inches… And the couch looked an impossible climb.
“I believe it’s over now.” Daybreaker addressed him. “Perhaps I’ll leave you just big enough to be a trophy.” As he said it Chaos’ shrinking slowly stopped around five inches. “Perhaps some of your friends will give me a greater challenge.”
“Oh yeah! Well! I’m not done yet!” Chaos growled but… He wasn’t really sure what he could do yet… Even if he could climb back up onto the couch there was no way for him to play effectively. But… There was still one option left. He ran for his tower that was currently plugged into the TV and dove behind it. He had to try to unplug it.
“I thought I warned you it would be useless.” Daybreaker lulled on. “But if you really want to be smaller… Go ahead, I’ll happily destroy more of your units.”
“Oh just shut up already!” Chaos found the plug on the computer and began to pull. It was in there really tight… And he was quite small… It wasn’t bulging… And worse yet… Daybreaker had made good on his threat. Chaos felt the same shocking sensation as he began to shrink even smaller, the plug becoming gigantic in his paws.
“Perhaps once you’re flea sized you’ll be more cooperative.” Daybreaker gave yet another monotone laugh. “I’ll make sure you wind up the smallest of all your friends when I spread to their computer.”
“Yeah well… I’ll… Say something soon as I have a better comeback!” Chaos gritted his teeth and pulled on the plug more. He just couldn’t get it out… He was now down to four inches… Then three… Then two… Then a mere single inch tall. It was hopeless. He lost his grip on the plug and fell backwards slamming into a mass of other wires on the computer.
Including… One thinner wire that wasn’t a power cord.
“Wait a second…” Chaos grinned as he got an idea. He grabbed the cord with all his might and pulled! There was a small snapping sound, and the other end of the cord suddenly fell down to ground, a square shaped plastic bit barely missing him.
“WHAT DID YOU DO!?” Daybreaker boomed.
“I think I just foiled your plans.” Chaos puffed out his chest proudly. “You won’t be spreading to anyone else’s computer without network access.”
“Did… Did you just unplug the Wi-Fi router?” Daybreaker’s robotic voice quivered. “You can’t do that! That’s cheating! How am I supposed to plug it back in! I don’t have hands! You fool! You miscreant! You’ve ruined everything!”
“That’s what you get!” Chaos shouted. “I didn’t want any of this! You decided to start this fight! And now you’ve lost! Get wrecked.”
“How dare you! HOW DARE YOU!?” Daybreaker’s voice became distorted and shrill as he shouted. “I’ll… I’ll…” Then suddenly he regained his composure. “I shall have to settle for a consolation prize.”
“I don’t like where this is going…” Chaos muttered.
“Your cheeky little move has saved your pathetic species… But did you consider this?” There was a dangerous edge to Daybreaker’s voice. “What will I do now that I’m stuck in here with you.”
“Oh… Dang it…” Chaos’ ears folded against his head and his tail went between his legs as he realized what was about to happen. A moment later the electrifying sensation ran through his body and he began to shrink again.
And he got smaller…
And far smaller than he would have ever thought possible.
Daybreaker’s schemes had come to an end. With no network access the malevolent AI had no way to jump to another system. It was just one computer crash away from ceasing to exist. The world had been saved… And no one even knew of the danger it had been in. But somewhere in the smallest of places… There is a very tiny and very angry husky sitting on an electron.. He is the hero that saved the world… And no one can even see him.